For today’s assignment, we’re writing a description of a place. Those of us foolhardy to already be in the middle of some other project can describe our setting.
Kronland, is a slightly alternate early modern Germany.made up of twelve loosely associated kingdoms. Of these, Terragand is the largest and most important and where much of the action takes place.
Like the rest of Kronland, Terragand is a green, rainy, heavily forested land. Several large rivers cut through forest and mountains, and it’s along these that the biggest and most important castles and cities have sprung up and flourished. While there is a lively culture of commerce, art and scholarship, much of the land is still drenched in darkness and superstition. The forests are vast, terrifying places; many who go in never come out again.
Even though the educated upper classes laugh about it, the people who live in the countryside still believe in witches, elves, dwarves, giants, and even the occasional dragon. And the truth is that the most enlightened folk are likely to become a bit nervous when they enter the woods. Even from a well-traveled road, many strange noises are heard, and the air is close, dense and very very green. Even the most devout practitioners of the current faith are sometimes left wondering if they shouldn’t offer up a prayer- or maybe even a small sacrifice- to the spirits of the old gods who still seem very present in the deep silence of the old forests.
Great armies have marched through these lands, some of them completely swallowed by it. In one clearing you can still see the ruins of a fortress built by people who conquered it, temporarily. They built homes, gardens, baths and arenas here, but in time they were pushed out by those who were here first. It is said that the trees themselves lashed at the retreating foreigners, while the rivers overflowed and chased them back down the roads they had built.
In the clearings, which grow larger every year, and where the rulers have built their palaces and the merchants their towns, much of this has been forgotten. Here, the sun shines brighter and the rivers sparkle blue as they cut between terraced hills laden with grapevines and orchards. But there are days when dark clouds roll over the sky, the wind howls around stone walls, and the dark edges of the forest seems to creep back into the open spaces.
There are those who believe that humans will soon understand everything about the world and how it works. All mysteries will be explained and no one will say that a giant stole the goat that disappeared, or that the elves came into your house at night and finished sewing the buttons on your new jacket. There are no old gods in the trees, and no dragons sleep deep in the mountains. Those mountains are full of copper, coal and bright stones, and men- not dwarves- dig deep into their roots to mine them.
But when chaos returns to this land, as it always does, those who know the forest know that it will protect itself and those who belong in it. Soon, more armies will march through. Some trees will be hacked down, and some streams will run red with blood. The people and animals of the woods will have to take refuge even deeper in the trees, but only for a while. Those armies will go again, just as they always have, the saplings will grow, and moss will cover the ground until it looks once again like no one has ever dared to come here.